Advice and Opinion Interview

Interview with W. Britt Gwinner, Head of Housing Finance – Financial Institutions Group

Which African country will provide the best opportunity for investors in 2015, and why?

Kenya. Despite recent political tensions and security issues, Kenya’s economy shows strong fundamental growth, which will enable it to weather the headwinds it faces. Other factors in Kenya’s favour: substantial pent-up demand for affordable housing and for high quality commercial spaces, a rising middle class, and increased interest from professional developers and investors, both domestic and international.

Which new or upcoming real estate project do you see as the most interesting in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Garden City in Nairobi to open shopping mall May, 2015. Promises to set the bar at a new height for the consumer shopping experience in East Africa, and provide important knock-on development impact to surrounding neighbourhoods. On the green side, will include Africa’s largest solar panel covered car park canopy, to generate 1,246,000 kWh per year, reducing Garden City’s CO2 emissions by an estimated 492 tonnes per year.

Which sub-sector[s] are you most bullish about in 2015, and why?

Residential. Today, roughly 100,000 households in Nairobis’ informal settlements pay rent equal to the mortgage on a USDeq 35,000 house. By 2030, 40 million SSA households will be able to afford a house priced from USD 27,000 to 135,000. Right now, these households are not well served. Most formally built housing units in markets like Luanda, Lagos, or Nairobi are priced at USDeq 150,000 and above, unaffordable to the vast majority of the population. Developers and banks are missing an important opportunity to move to a large-scale, low cost business model.

Interview by: Global Real Estate Institute (GRI) – February 2015

GRI is a global club of leading investors, developers and lenders active in Real Estate. For the last 17 years, they have been bringing together the world’s CEOs, Heads of Real Estate & Chairmen, head to head in informal discussions where they engage and brainstorm about the latest trends of the market, leaving each event with confirmed purpose and new partners.

The 3rd annual Africa GRI conference will be taking place in Johannesburg on 21st – 22nd April 2015.

More info and Brochure